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Bronze David by Donatello

Sculpture of David in Bronze by Donatello

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This profile of Donatello is part of
Who's Who in Medieval History

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Donatello was also known as:

Donato di Niccolo di Betto Bardi

Donatello was noted for:

His superb command of sculpture. One of the foremost sculptors of the Italian Renaissance, Donatello was a master of both marble and bronze, and had an extensive knowledge of ancient sculpture. Donatello also developed his own style of relief known as schiacciato ("flattened out"). This technique involved extremely shallow carving and utilized light and shadow to create the full pictorial scene.

Occupations:

Places of Residence and Influence:

Important Dates:

    Born: c. 1386, Genoa
    Died: Dec. 13, 1466, Rome

About Donatello:

The son of a Florentine wool carder, Donatello became a member of Lorenzo Ghiberti's workshop by the time he was 21. The earliest work that can definitely be attributed to him, a marble statue of David, shows the clear artistic influence of Ghiberti and the "International Gothic" style, but he soon developed a powerful style of his own.

By 1423, Donatello had mastered the art of sculpting in bronze. Sometime around 1430, he was commissioned to create a bronze statue of David, although who his patron may have been is up for debate. The David is the first large-scale, free-standing nude statue of the Renaissance.

In 1443, Donatello went to Padua to construct a bronze equestrian statue of a famous, recently-deceased Venetian condottiere, Erasmo da Narmi. The pose and the powerful style of the piece would influence equestrian monuments for centuries to come. Upon returning to Florence, Donatello discovered that a new generation of sculptors had overtaken the Florentine art scene with excellent marble works. His heroic style had been eclipsed in his home city, but he still received commissions from outside Florence, and he remained fairly productive until he died at about aged eighty. 

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